My first MLB game away from home was at the old Tigers Stadium… vs. the Cleveland Indians! Some of my greatest memories at Indians home games were always against the Detroit Tigers. Back in high school, I used to own matching “home” and “away” Tigers baseball hats, direct from the team’s clubhouse -- a gift from my dad’s old Navy buddy, who took us to that game at Tiger Stadium years ago. So when the Detroit Tigers hosted the Cleveland Indians for this year’s “Star Wars Night” -- you can imagine how much I needed to be there.
In fact, Tigers “Star Wars Night” has become something of an annual tradition for the members of Great Lakes Base and Great Lakes Garrison. Going back to 2011, the Detroit Tigers have hosted a Star Wars-themed game and has been a crowd favorite ever since. Organizing an event of this size can be like leading an entire campaign vs. a single battle, and Michigan Captain “kcjohnson” did an amazing job in his first year coordinating this event, on behalf of us Rebels. In fact, the Tigers game is so special to groups like us -- Snips92 arranged to fly directly to Detroit (from work trip in Boston) just so she wouldn’t miss the opportunity to troop this game!
Now, understand that events like this tend to make for a LONG day for us. We arrive at Comerica Park around 2:30pm and once everyone is checked in and security looks through our armor bins… then we make our way down to the lower levels, where (much like a relief pitcher) it’s off the bullpen to wait. Later, once everyone is suited up -- we march outside for a massive group photo, under the giant tiger statue in front of the ballpark. Unfortunately, we happen to run into a bridal party – who didn’t seem to get the hint that while for the bride this may be “her day”… we’re kinda on a tight schedule.
|photo courtesy Kristie Johnson|
Once the “David Tutera” drama was over, we head back inside and spread out around Comerica Park to welcome fans as they enter the ballpark. My group was stationed up on the 300 level, which was rather chilly for mid-September. As time moved closer to first pitch, we made our way back down to the right field tunnel, for the Star Wars character parade around the field during pregame introductions. Members of the Michigan Philharmonic played a medley of Star Wars music as we marched around the warning track. A small group of characters got to take part in the opening pitch ceremony, with Boba Fett getting the call this year.
After that, it was time to meet the fans and take pictures… LOTS of pictures! If you were lucky enough to make it over where the team had special “Star Wars Night” backdrops (great!) -- otherwise, you just paired up with a few other characters and just braced for wave after wave of photo-ops with fans! The crowd was super excited to see us, and I always seem to get mobbed by the cute girls whenever I troop in Detroit -- think I should relocate here? ;)
Unfortunately (for us Tribe fans) Alex Avila hit a 2-run homer in the 8 th, giving the Tigers a 5-4 win over the Indians. It still was fun to be back in Detroit, watching my two favorite teams play each other -- but this time I had to represent CLE by wearing my "Chief Wahoo" hat backstage.